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Guide to the George E. Tillitson collection on railroads, 1880-1940
Special Collections M0165  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content
  • Application
  • Special Notes

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: George E. Tillitson collection on railroads,
    Date (inclusive): 1880-1940
    Collection number: Special Collections M0165
    Creator: Tillitson, George E.
    Extent: 34 linear ft.
    Repository: Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Access Restrictions

    Restricted: requires 24 hr. paging period.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.


    Gift of George E. Tillitson, 1955.

    Preferred Citation:

    [Identification of item] George E. Tillitson collection on railroads, M0165, Dept. of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

    Scope and Content

    Collection contains outlined corporate histories of railroads in the United States and Canada. The collection covers almost every railroad that ever operated in the United States and Canada and includes some records of roads that were projected though never built, and some information on street car lines and electric interurban lines. These outlines are in long hand on loose leaf 8½ × 11 inches notebook paper. They include dates of incorporation, brief sketches of the history of the line, lists of points served, lists of mileage, and occasionally time schedules, maps of lines, and lists or reports of accidents on the lines. Unfortunately, the collection is incomplete, and the information provided is much more extensive for the larger lines.
    Information is arranged alphabetically by state and, within the state, alphabetically by name of company. An index of all companies listed in the files has been provided by the collector.
    The Tillitson Manuscript is essentially a Railroad List which is unique in the degree of detail.
    The area covered is the United States and Canada, with some material on Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and a little on Mexico. Whose files, together with the District of Columbia are in a separate box. The states are arranged in alphabetical order, and Canadian Provinces occupy a separate box. The material fills twenty-five file drawers.
    The listings within a state are a single alphabetical listing of all Railroads (public carriers), Street Railways (of all types), Private Railroads (logging and construction RRs chiefly here) and a few others.
    This includes all railroads, including the ephemeral ones conceived, yet never built, by chance that many were incorporated, but few built: Likowise, a vast number of early, independantly built short lines became absorbed into the greater large company operations; other railroads built as separate entities were actually subsidiaries or owned companies; and a vast confusion came to exist through reorganization and changes of name due to bank ruptcies and similar troubles.
    These myriad changes have produced a tremendously complex structure, to which this material provides a useful and available key for students.


    Anyone wishing to become thoroughly familiar with the transportation background of an area - a state or a regional section of the United States or Canada - can do so through the medium of this manuscript.
    Such a study can be concentrated on a given portion of time - early, or Railroads of Oregon in 1900, etc. - or as to type of carrier, or mode of power, steam, electric - and the companies operating, trackage involved and other pertinent data readily assembled.
    Equipment - particularly motive power - is usually tabulated. Very Little operating data is given as to amount and number of trains daily; nor are there very often maps except for the lLarger company files. Timetables were not in this portion of the material.

    Special Notes

    One very useful feature of the material is further described in the two attached pages. This is the carefully annotated study of a good many of the important large railroads of the United States complete within their own files, these to be found within the official state of incorporation. Here will be included page references to the frequently huge number of small short-line roads that usually wound up by being taken in to the larger and expending Class II and I roads. Some of these files, such as the New York Central or the Pennsylvania Railroad are very big themselves.
    Michigan, Wisconsin, Oregon, and Washington are large because the many lumber railroads have been extensively studied out. Within the State file for Washington, the lumber railroads make a separate alphabetical order.
    signed: W.B.B., Palo Alto, May 15, 1955

    Additional Note

    W.B.B. 5-15-56